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UKRAINE INCHES TOWARD POSSIBLE WTO ENTRY (1 JULY) Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Rohovyy announced on 1 July that Ukraine has made progress toward World Trade Organization (WTO) membership criteria, Reuters reported. Speaking at a news conference Rohovyy said, "All our partners agreed that Ukraine has made real progress over the last year to enter the World Trade Organization. They said Ukraine had tackled matters in real earnest and work on the protocol for Ukraine's entry is edging closer," Reuters reported on 1 July. Since Ukraine submitted its application for membership in 1993, the country has worked to overcome difficulties in the areas of intellectual property, tariffs, and trade. Ukraine wants to join the WTO by the end of 2003. In order to meet the deadline, the country must first pass 15 laws through its parliament by March of that year. (TGP)

ARMENIA LEADS CIS STATES IN INDUSTRIAL GROWTH (3 JULY) According to the CIS Statistics Committee, Armenia's year-on-year industrial growth for the first five months of 2002 was 11.2 percent, RosBusiness Consulting reported on 3 July. This was the largest increase in industrial production reported by CIS states, not including Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which lacked available information. Other CIS states that registered an increase in industrial production included: Kazakhstan (10 percent growth), Moldova (8.6 percent growth), Tajikistan (8.3 percent growth), Ukraine (3.1 percent growth), Belarus (3.1 percent growth), and Russia (3 percent growth). Kyrgyzstan reported a 10.7 percent drop in industrial production during the same period. On average, CIS states recorded a 3 percent growth in industrial production from January to May. (TGP)

...AS MOSCOW HOPES TO BRING UKRAINE AND MOLDOVA INTO NEW ECONOMIC ALLIANCE. Meanwhile, EES Secretary-General Grigorii Rapota told journalists in Moscow on 9 July that his organization wants to upgrade the observer status of Ukraine and Moldova to full membership, RIA-Novosti and other Russian news agencies reported. However, he said that Ukraine needs time to "understand what we are doing." He added that the five members of commonwealth are working to create a unified economic space with a single customs and transportation-tariff regime. He also mentioned that on 3 July he signed an agreement with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov formally establishing the EES's headquarters in Moscow. Interestingly, Colonel-General Trubnikov is a former director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and Lieutenant General Rapota is a former SVR deputy director. VY

MOSCOW CONCERNED ABOUT LANGUAGE RESTRICTIONS IN UKRAINIAN MEDIA. The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern on 9 July over a decision by Ukraine's National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting to require that within the next year all domestically produced television and radio programs be in Ukrainian. Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko said at a briefing, "basically this step limits the right of the millions of ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine and the many Ukrainians for whom Russian is their native language to receive information in their primary language," Interfax reported. Yakovenko added that such a measure contradicts the spirit of Russian-Ukrainian cooperation, as well as international standards for defending the rights of ethnic minorities, reported. Yakovenko also expressed the hope that Ukrainian officials will take Russia's concerns over the issue into consideration. MD

NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS UKRAINE AT LEAST FIVE YEARS AWAY FROM MEMBERSHIP. "NATO appreciates Ukraine's declaration of strategic orientation and its aspirations to be part of the Euro-Atlantic mainstream, but we need to realize that this a long-term process," RFE/RL quoted NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson as saying during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council held in Kyiv on 9 July. He later told RFE/RL correspondents that it would probably be another five years before the country can join the alliance. AP reported on 10 July that Robertson also said that "we are not talking about a...membership application at the moment, but we are talking about a much more intensified program of work and this will intensify the relationship between NATO and Ukraine." Commenting on this meeting, the Polish daily "Gazeta Wyborcza" on 9 July wrote that only six members of NATO actively support Ukrainian membership in the alliance, naming Poland, the United States, Turkey, and with somewhat less enthusiasm Germany, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Other NATO members remain skeptical about Ukraine's place in the alliance, according to the Polish daily. RK

OFFICIALS OF UKRAINIAN MINE ARRESTED, INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO ACCIDENT. The director and the chief engineer of the Ukrayina mine in Ukrainsk where 35 miners died on 8 July in an underground fire were arrested on charges of gross negligence and manslaughter, Interfax reported on 9 July. According to dpa on 9 July, regional prosecutors said they believe they will be able to prove that the two mine managers grossly violated safety regulations, and are responsible for the 35 deaths because they allowed the mine shaft to operate with outdated equipment. However, Donetsk media carried stories arguing that the charges are an effort by regional coal tycoons to deflect responsibility by setting up a pair of low-level mine managers as scapegoats, dpa reported. According to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on 9 July, experts in Donetsk said the miners could have been rescued and that they perished due to poorly organized rescue procedures in the first moments after the fire broke out. RK

OSCE PLANS PROVIDE FOR A FEDERATIVE MOLDOVA... The draft agreement between Moldova and the breakaway Transdniester region proposed by the OSCE mission in Chisinau provides for a federative Moldova, Flux reported. According to the draft, published by the governmental "Moldova suverana" and "Nezavisimaya Moldova," parts of Moldovan territory could have the right to their own legislation and Constitution, but the Moldovan Constitution and laws would prevail. The country's official language would be "Moldovan, based on the Latin script," but the regions could use their own languages along with Moldovan. The Moldovan parliament would have two chambers, the Legislators Chamber and the Chamber of Representatives. The agreement is to be guaranteed by Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE, while the OSCE is to provide peacekeeping troops during the transition period. ZsM